Fixed or Fit
Fixed or Fit
It has been my privilege to work as a counselor within the prison system in Hawaii. I get to speak with inmates and there families. One of the expectations is that our treatment center will "Fix" or "cure" alcohol and other drug addictions. After all "isn't that why he/she is in treatment"? This question is a complicated question because addiction is a human condition and there is no fix for the human condition. After years of studying the complex of some doing well after release from prison and those that are arrested and returned to treatment within a couple months. Is there a common denominator?
A common understanding of addiction
I to use the word addiction in the blog. Currently, psychologists use the term "substance use disorder", (SUD). There is a difference between the formal and the informal understanding here. What actually counts is how the person in their addiction understands their condition. Nevertheless, professional staff diagnosis and non-professionals experience being out of control and may or may not understand what is happening with themselves. They experience illness. I will not help anyone to stigmatize or label another person. I do not want a client to adopt my understanding. I am most interested in supporting a client to come to terms with their own understanding and help them accept what is causing pain and frustration.
The common denominator
The common denominator is our human interest in enjoying happiness. Addiction, if I am accurate here, is "the ritualized obsession to seek comfort". I would be a fool if I thought this definition is the only definition, but it is a start. In some research addiction actually becomes a drive like hunger, thirst, parenting, or procreation. Addicted behavior actually moves human drives to the side and become overwhelmed releasing behavior, drug seeking behavior, trump normal human drives. "I would rather gamble my rent money than use it for my need for a place to sleep". I had one client who was a meat inspector with the US food and drug administration. He told me that while under the influence of methamphetamine he thought every thing was "all right", including losing his job, home, marriage, while living under a bridge in western Hawaii. That is the delusion and happiness I am talking about. "As long as I was high my life felt Great.
Fixed or fit
My read of the huge amount of research in addiction suggests that an evidence based treatment is what works; in other words, Treatment centers do well to teach coping skills and replacement behaviors as well as skills that improve resliiance against addictions. Their is not fix or cure, as addiction resides in the reward system hidden in the sub-linguistic brain. In a moment of relaxation, we may get an echo from the past that suggests happiness is one pill away. When fit, ex-addicts can chose a behavior contrary to the instant gratification that the reward promises. I'm T2 diabetic and after 25 years I chose to take responsiblity to make food choices that generates a fit condition in relations to my addiction to the SAD diet, the Standard American Diet. Being fit takes diligence. At the same time, the less often we give into the ping of an echo from the past, the brain will trim or prune those pathways, which maybe a fix, but I will have to wait a decade before I enter the supermarket without wanting to know where the cold beer is stored. Get fit, Stay fit and pursue autonomy.
Autonomy is the psychological need to experience self-direction and personal endorsement in the initiation and regulation of one’s behavior.
Thank you, Dr. Jeff